A new trend is emerging where hackers are infiltrating hospital systems and disabling their computer networks for ransom. This has the effect of bringing modern medicine to a halt, as many hospitals are reliant on technology to render care to its patients. Instead of asking for millions in return, it appears the hackers are asking for smaller amounts of money. This allows hospitals to get return to normal function and avoid bad publicity. It also allows hackers to avoid police intervention.
On March 23, 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that any patient data kept by a health care provider, regardless of location, is a medical record that must be released to patients and families. Earlier in the year, we wrote about the dangers of letting medical providers determine what is and is not a "medical record." You can also read an in depth analysis of the court's decision from former judge and University of Cincinnati College of Law professor emerita Marianna Bettman here.
Throughout much of the 20th century, most doctors acted as general practitioners instead of specializing in a particular area of medicine. This was considered to be a holistic approach to medicine that allowed one doctor to manage a patient's care and see them through from start to finish. Of course, this still allowed for a general practitioner to consult with a specialist if a particular issue was outside his "box," but the general practitioner was still the primary doctor and managed the overall care of the patient. In the 1970s and '80s, however, there was a shift in the medical industry where recent medical school graduates chose to pursue specializations instead of going into "general" medicine.
Have you ever called a customer service number trying to find out the answer to a question only to be transferred to ten different departments and spending 2 hours on what was supposed to be a 5 minute phone call? Well, this process may become the norm for patients seeking to obtain their medical records depending on the Ohio Supreme Court's decision in Griffith v. Aultman Hospital.